tv The Last Word MSNBC January 31, 2011 8:00pm-9:00pm EST
slaves. andrew jackson? about 160. zachary taylor up to 150 slaves up. other presidents through the years also owned years. so if you want to get your history from the congresswoman from minnesota, that is an option. or you can check it out yourself. i recommend you do some work yourself. president reagan used to say trust but verify. when it comes to people like bachman and beck and palin, the smart move is to start with the verify. that's "hardball" for now. last word starts now. >> i do believe that the word transition means change. >> peaceful transition to real democracy. >> while the white house watches from the situation room, a new crisis breaks out at home. >> breaking news on the efforts
to repeal. >> a key part of president obama's health care overhaul unconstitutional. >> this is widely anticipated ruli ruling. >> the judge sided with 26 institutes arguing that the federal government cannot force people to buy health insurance. >> florida has become the second judge to declare that part of the law unconstitutional. >> the uprising in egypt is just the latest political test for the obama white house. >> there are some people who are looking at this through a political lens. >> meanwhile, everyone's egypt talking point, sound bipartisan. >> we have a responsibility to respond. >> it's not up to us to give the egyptians advice about this. >> it's not a question of who retains power. it's how are we going to respond? >> but politics could break out at any moment. >> big test for obama. >> and the worst possible example would be what happened to jimmy carter. the carter white house became
trapped in the rose garden and failed to win reelection. >> the white house has been scrambling to respond. >> thus far pleased at the strength that it has taken place. >> the white house has not taken a position on whether he should be on the ballot. egypts government falls, what will emerge in its place. >> that's not for us to determine. >> protesters say reforms are not enough. when will he go. >> the government is now facing something of a show down. >> this is the man who spent the last 30 years creating one of the most oppressive police states in the entire middle east. >> how can you be in power for 30 years in a democracy. >> my approval rate something 115%. >> good evening from new york. the time is just after 35:00
a.m. where any minute now the information ministry says it will shut down all mobile phone networks ahead of a million person march that is supposed to get underway when daybreaks there. today's good news? the military promised that they will not use force against the protesters planning to march. the newly swarn in vice president oma suleiman asked the united states to open contacts with all political factions in order to start a political dialogue on all issues at hand. the promises mean lit toll protesters, however, who are in tahrir square tonight. they insist they do not want reforms or compromises. they simply want mubarak out of
office. we want to be like america. we want to choose our president. joining me now with the latest from cairo, anchor and managing editor of nbc nightly news brian williams and chief foreign correspondent richard engle. today is evacuation day in egypt for americans. what are the options for americans trying to get out now? >> twel options are if you work for a private concern and for a lot of people that's an oil company, we saw a lot of aircraft on the tarmac with american markings sitting idle and dark. there is a bit of a problem with the curfew and getting ramp workers, but thousands of people are coming to the airport. hundreds of americans at a time. people are sleeping there. people getti inting antsy. then you get assigned wherever it is your chart ser going to take you. it could be cyprus, it could be
athens or any number of places you are billed for it. the american government is scrambling these jets. jet fuel is expensive and they are taking people out of here. but as we were coming in, we were going decidedly against the flow, most folks wanting very badly to get out. >> many see today as the calm before the storm. tomorrow's million person march, the interior ministry indicating that they will shut down yell phone service before that march. how will that affect what we see tomorrow? >> reporter: it will probably have no noticeable effect. the government here shut down the internet a long time ago. when the protests really started to pick up last friday, they also shut down the cell phone service. ironically, what they ended up doing is they made tahrir square the main focus. there were several locations where people were gathering to protest. once they cut off
communications, the only place where protesters knew where to go was tahrir square. by cutting off all the communications they unified them in the center of cairo. >> i want us to listen to president obama's speech from cairo a year and a half ago. >> i do have an unyielding belief that all people yeern for certain things. the ability to speak your mind. and have a say in how you are governed. confidence in a rule of law and the equal administration of justice. government that is transparent and doesn't steal from the people. the freedom to live as you choose. these are not just american ideas. they are human rights. that is why we will support them everywhere. >> it sounds as if he was
speaking directly to the protesters. it is stronger than anything he has said since the protest erupted. do you think that egyptians have those words in mind and that is why these demonstrations have not turned anti-american? >> we keep saying be careful what you wish for. those words in mind and others and i need not tell you that for folks in the audience, those very same demonstrators would like tomorrow would not be too soon, a clear statement of policy and full throated support for their fight against mubarak. as you well know, diplomacy, international relations, these region is so fraught. things don't work that way, especially among the big powers, the big nations, and especially in this neighborhood. but that speech as has already been pointed out will be part of the dna, i am guessing,
especially if this ends up what it looks like, a full skate citizens revolt. >> the obama administration's request to try to speak to mubarak. what do you think that might do to the notion of what america's involvement is at this stage? >> reporter: the protesters are convinced that the only reason mubark is still here is because he has what appears to be the backing of the united states. the united states has certainly not called on him to leave. if you translated that speech of obama to today it would be calling on mubarak to leave. they are convinced that the united states wants him here because hi has been an ally of the united states. people here call him a pawn of the united states. sometimes calm him a spy of the united states.
the more american presence is convincing them that they are correct. >> this country has been presented in terms of the strategic question. a mubarak style dictator ship. he has been insisting that that is not the only choice. that there are other ways to go. is there a way for the white house at this point to find a third way in egypt? >> reporter: clearly and you watch the verbiage as clearly as anyone and they are trying to use the most careful terms like transition. they would love very much for it exactly not to be an either or. i was struck by the muslim brotherho brotherhood spokesman who said we're seeing in the west as islamists and we don't want to be at the top of this ticket to use a western term.
so i think there is a note of the delicacy here amid all these protests while in washington it's nothing but delicacy going forward. >> richard, as we sit here watching these things unfold, we don't see anyway from this perspective of how mubarak can stay in place. what might people be saying to him about what his options are now? arp mubarak still has many supporters within the military. he has been good to senior officers and it would be not far -- not a far assumption to assume that some senior officers could say why not retire. you don't have to leave in disgrace. you can sit back in a more grandfather position. we will run the country from here or appoint a civilian government. that could be a compromise position that some people in the military who also have vested
interests with mubarak are looking for. >> having watched so many of these situations unfold on the ground as you are in cairo, you get a sense on the ground that is different than what you can get outside of the country. where do you think we are in this story? we have had the protests erupt last week. fire the government, replace them with new people. the protests get louder. there seems to be no momentum shift whatsoever. where do you think we are in this story? >> first of all it's pretty amazing we are doing television at will and interviewing people at will in egypt at all. the reason our picture looks different from richards is we were able to set up in a mac-shift fashion. we are traveling with folks and needed to find a safe place to do it. but, lawrence, here's what's in the air. i keep hearing the phrase among westerners prairie fire. a friend of mine who is
jordanian worried in a conversation with me today about children's education. should he send the child to the united states? should he move to a house in a smaller village to be -- that's the thing. where does this stop? not only for egyptians? where does this stop in the region? and in what form? none of us can see the future. and that's what i feel in the air. >> brian williams and richard engle both in cairo. thank you both for joining me tonight. >> my pleasure, lawrence. breaking news out of florida today. a republican appointed federal judge strikes down the entire health care reform law as unconstitutional. the case is now on a collision course with the supreme court and the decision could be another bush v. gore. and this weekend sarah palin tells her fans that president obama is trying to take away
their guns. what will that do to palin's campaign chances? because she could afford nothing else. ethel couldn't ignore the clear need for health and financial security. and it inspired her to found aarp. for over 50 years, we've continued that work, to help all americans pursue their best life. discover more of what we do, for every generation at aarp.org. discover more of what we do, ♪ crossing borders with ease ♪ ♪ clearing customs' a breeze ♪ ♪ that's logistics ♪ ♪ a-di-os, cheerio, au revoir ♪ ♪ off it goes, that's logistics ♪ ♪ over seas, over land, on the web, on demand ♪ ♪ that's logistics ♪ ♪ operations worldwide, ups on your side ♪ ♪ that's logistics ♪
the biggest case since bush v gore will soon be on its way. we will discuss the politics and the law next. and later my exclusive interview with congressman who gets the last word on his lawsuit over an olive. [ male announcer ] this is charlie whose morning flight to london starts with arthritis pain... and a choice. take tylenol now, and maybe up to 8 in a day. or...choose aleve and 2 pills for a day free of pain. enjoy the flight.
representatives voting to repeal the obama health care bill is an academic exercise going nowhere. a federal judge declaring the law unconstitutional could be the first step in real repeal of the health care law, which in the end will require only five votes in the united states supreme court. today florida federal judge ruled that a key provision is unconstitutional and therefore the whole law must be voided. the judge, a reagan appointee said that congress exceeded its authority by forcing people to buy private insurance. because the mandate is unconstitutional and not severable, the entire act must be declared void. white house officials pushed back on the rhetoric and the ruling including some references to the original boston tea
party. the white house released a statement saying this rule something well out of the mainstream of judicial opinion. we are confident that the affordable care act will be declared constitutional by the courts. the obama administration will appeal the ruling. the case could be before the united states supreme court in 2012. during the president's reelection campaign in the meantime, implementation of the law will continue. joining me now are congressman anthony of new york. any case where it only takes five votes is something you have got be concerned about. >> if there th was just a question of the law, it is a ground ball. this is about where somebody can go out not get insurance, got into the hospital and have the
rest of us pay for it. this is about regulating the marketplace. i believe it is clear. no one can shout about judicial activism and not say that is the most activist court you can imagine. you can't be sure of anything on the law when you have a supreme court that has shown in perhaps the most important case in american history that they are prepared to ignore the law. this is not a legal call at heart in my view. >> this is feeling like bush v. gore in terms of the size of the case. >> there is a great line where he says listen, i know normally what a court does is you take out the part you don't like. in this case the individual mandate and you leave the rest of the law standing. i'm not going do this this time but this is very unique. there is an aligning there. this is a unique case. in these very highly politicized
cases where judges go more with their partisan affiliations there is a tendcy to say we are just doing this just this once. don't take it seriously beyond this. you saw in bush v gore sichlt a very close echo. >> the ability of the judge to rule an entire thing unconstitutional turns on the severability of it. normally the staff makes sure there is a clause writ than makes it all severable. if a judge finds this piece of it unconstitutional, he can just sever that part and throw that out and the rest of it stands. was this just a staff mistake, not including this provision? >> there is implied severability here. the reason we have the requirement that people get insurance is to help the insurance industry. if we are going to give you this subsidy you can't be a free loader. you have got get insurance. let's say they do decide to take out the requirement.
i only think that four or five or six percent won't get insurance. you look at the experience in massachusetts and that was about the percentage of people who didn't sign up. the idea that the whole thing would collapse, i think the judge himself knew it wasn't or he would not have stayed any enforcement. he put it in one sentence saying the whole thing would fall but there was nothing in the rest of the argument that made it clear this is clear politics. he is not the only judge that ruled. but i get back to your original point. the problem is it doesn't matter how phoney the legal argument is. if at the end of the day it's a political calculation of. >> you stweeted today. the public option is constitutional. still pissed we gave up on that. what's your point in relation to this individual case?
>> ezrah wrote about this today as well. we know we can require people to participate in medicare and social security. the public option is a simpler form of what we are trying to do there meaning the federal government comes in and administers medicare for all americans. i am in no position to say that i think we should start again and include that. maybe we should go and do that. the fact is that we did choose a more complicated construct here. it does get us back to the ironies of how the whole deal has gone down. >> former constitutional law professor was opposed to the individual mandate. should he have stuck with his campaign vision?
>> he was not opposed to it on constitutional grounds but political grounds. he got in a room and policy people sat down with him and said the bill is going to be a lot better with the individual mandate. i want to add what congressman weinor said to us. and dole and chafee and grassly and hatch co-sponsored a bill that was a republican alternative with an individual mandate. romney used it. as recently as june '09, thaz a bipartisan consensus there.
the thing we know is constitutional is medicare and that is where we will end up. if republicans get their wish here and this bill does get overturned in the long run they will end up with a much, much, much more expansively run health care system. >> a small group of them supported it and they all abandoned it. that's how quickly republicans scatter on health care reform ideas. i want you to listen to what tim p pawlenty said -- this is obviously dead center campaign politics. this will end up probably in the supreme court during the presidential campaign. i think they are taking a shot at mitt romney who got a bill in massachusetts and signed it into
law. >> here is what i will say. unless the american people come to understand what this is all about, this is about 90% of the american people spending money for insurance and having a handful of people who want to free load and pass their bills along to us. all of us who pay taxes, we get stuck with those bills, too. i think with as with a lot of things in the bill, the more americans come to grips with taking away the labels and looking at the substance, they will realize that pawlenty and others are on the wrong side of this. >> thank you both for joining
me. >> thanks. >> thank you. >> sarah palin was talking guns over the weekend and the media was banned from watching. one reporter managed to get in. what you weren't supposed to hear ahead on "the last word." >> and later congressman answers questions about the cafeteria. en by curve balls. ♪ this is the age of knowing how to get things done. ♪ so why would you let something like erectile dysfunction get in your way? isn't it time you talked to your doctor about viagra? 20 million men already have. ♪ with every age comes responsibility. ask your doctor if your heart is healthy enough for sex. do not take viagra if you take nitrates for chest pain, as it may cause an unsafe drop in blood pressure.
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>> ambassador huntsman has done an outstanding job. i am sure him having worked so well with me will be a great asset in any republican primary. >> that's president obama foreshadowing the resignation of john huntsman. just a short time ago he told the white house he plans to leave his post effective april 30th. huntsman reportedly wants to leave beijing by may when he is expected to set up a committee to seek the republican nomination for president in 2012. will sarah palin join the 2012 campaign? she spent saturday night campaigning against president obama by lying to hunting enthusiasts that president obama is trying to take their guns away. she pushed back at efforts to strengthen gun and ammunition laws. and new evidence, our current
gun laws are not being enforced. we have undercover video of someone joking that he couldn't pass a background check and walking out of a gun show with a gun anyway. ♪ when you're responsible for this much of the team, you need a car you can count on. looking for a simple way to help lower your cholesterol?
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in tonight's spotlight, exactly three weeks since congresswoman gabby giffords and others were shot down in nevada. their keynote speaker, sarah palin. the most recently losing presidential candidate who will never be president. the media was banned from the event but newsweek managed to make his way in. he quotes palin offering condolences to the victims of tucson, but then she turned political, warning of efforts of the white house to crack down on gun and ammunition control
telling the audience how important it is for their sake, for america's sake that we do not allow the evil acts of one mentally deranged murderer to change america's way of life. we must not allow this tragedy to stifle our constitutionally protected rights including our second amendment rights. be ware of what's coming. i really do believe that god has shed his grace on the, but we can't blow it. we can't allow an atrophy that is so exceptional. next time you have to read the palin quote. i'm lost. >> purple mountains majesty in danger of crumbling. >> i have heard some of those words before but never together in that sequence. she doesn't do anything that she doesn't get paid for these days. do we have any reporting and is there a way to find out how much
she gets paid for an event? >> we know that the door take was about $200,000. the entry fee was $100 or about 2,000 people in the audience. it is worth noting independent of her speaking fee that this was a high rolling crowd. if palin is making a run at the gop presidential nomination she wants access to high rolling and safari hunters who support her same views on gun control. >> she would want access to high rollers but she would need to appeal to more people than she is appealing to. straw polls showing her running behind mitt romney and tim pawlenty. how does this stuff appeal to people who already don't like sarah palin? >> she has put herself in a position that is more extreme than dick cheney and scalia.
we are talking about a presidential field that is very narrow. very moderate former obama staffer. you have tim pawlenty leading by double digits. speaking to a group of safari -- people who have big game in their living rooms and dens, i'm not sure is appealing to the american public at a time when i think we are looking for a national conversation on how to keep our country safe. >> now there is another entry from that event in the national conversation in how to keep our country safe. i will have to do another palin reading. this one's weirder. but bear with me. remember that weird guy. i am quoting. remember that weird guy in wisconsin who was so ungry, so upset watching a palin win slot after slot each week on dancing with the stars that he shot bristol through his tv?
he blasted his panasonic. well i'm thinking, imagine more gun control. then he'd have to attack his panasonic with a butter knife. when control comes up in the imagined presidential debates, will the butter knife line be what she used? >> i was talking to the president of the mcgrady campaign and he said it amazes me that sarah palin is completely glossing over the issue at hand. we are talking about gun violence and very practical steps, a reduction of high capacity magazine clips and she is talking about people sticking butter knives in television and mentioning "dancing with the stars." it is all about sarah palin. if we are looking to presidential -- her presidential campaign, she has really got to think in broader strokes and
have better jokes as well. >> did you know that egypt is also about sarah palin? she says that she likes the idea of a media boycott of sarah palin because, she says, it sounds good to her because there is a lot of chaos in cairo and i can't wait to not get blamed for it -- at least for a month. >> i think people must be breathing a huge sigh of relief. >> what do you think a politician gets by being the first one to joke about cairo? foreign policy credentials? >> i am sure hillary is glad someone has taken that burden off of her shoulders. it's dangerous and we saw this with tucson. she was ahead and it didn't serve her well. she took herself out of the larger national conversation. >> we would be happy to boycott
sarah palin if she would just stop saying these kinds of things. >> if she just would. >> coming up, mayor michael bloomberg steps up the fight with the release of undercover video from an arizona gun show. we will show you how stupidly easy it is to buy a gun even if you admit you wouldn't pass a background check. and later in an exclusive speak to congressman kucinich about why he sued over an injury inflicting olive pit. if the settlement was really worth all of the grief. [ male announcer ] from jet engines that have fewer emissions, to new ways to charge electric cars, to renewable sources of clean energy, ecomagination from ge is advanced technology that's good for both the economy and the environment. ♪ it's technology that makes the world work.
the word background check was met with a laugh. and later esdennis deukucinich l speak out about the olive pit that brought him a lot of dental bills and more bad press. can be more confident in their ability to be ready with cialis for daily use. ♪ cialis for daily use is a clinically proven low-dose tablet you take every day so you can be ready anytime the moment's right. ♪ tell your doctor about your medical condition and all medications, and ask if you're healthy enough for sexual activity. don't take cialis if you take nitrates for chest pain, as this may cause an unsafe drop in blood pressure. [ man ] do not drink alcohol in excess with cialis. side effects may include headache, upset stomach, delayed backache, or muscle ache. to avoid long-term injury, seek immediate medical help for an erection lasting more than 4 hours. if you have any sudden decrease or loss in hearing or vision, stop taking cialis and call your doctor right away. [ male announcer ] ask your doctor if cialis for daily use is right for you.
>> what you just saw is a violation of federal law which says that they sellers can sell to anyone without a background check unless there is reason to believe that a t buy ser not legally allowed to buy a gun. when the buyer says he couldn't pass a background check, there's reason to believe the buyer isn't legally allowed to buy a gun. how common is that violation of federal law at gun shows? let's go back to the undercover video tape.
>> all of that video was shot by undercover investigators in arizona hired by the city of new york for a project called gun show undercover. why would city officials try reality tv to make share point? mayor michael bloomberg held a conference to talk about the project and the city's police commissioner explained why. >> we pay the price right here in new york. almost 90% of the guns we con if i -- confiscate are from out of state.
some are from states that are pretty close like pennsylvania and others are from states that are not so close such as texas and yes, arizona. but gun traffickers don't respect state lines. >> 34 americans die every day from gun violence. they are just protecting gun sellers who pay their bills at the nra and using broken laws to make quick cash. and they don't care about the consequences. the u.s. is planning to unveil new gun control measures sometime this month even though details are unknown. and sarah palin this weekend warning about gun control said, we need to keep tabs on what the white house is telling us. just think if we had even stricter gun control laws.
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representatives cafeteria for serious and permanent dental and oral injuries requiring multiple surgery call and dental procedures and other damages as well including significant pain, suff suffering and loss of enjoyment. the dental damage was done by an olive pit hidden in a wrap he had ordered that he was led to believe contained olives but not any olive pits. not helping his case was a video of the congressman speaking on the house floor only a few days after the incident where he did not seen dentally empaired. >> bring these oil companies to heel by using the power of congress to tax the excess profit profits. >> so he chomped down into what he thought was a -- i'll bet you
kucinich thinks that the pimento in the olive was grown there. >> criticism did not only come from the right. a letter explaining one of the more bizarre letters to campaign supporters in modern american politics. the letter said my bridge work had to be completely recon figured a new partial was designed so this injury did not affect only one tooth but rather involved six replacement teeth as well. a new crown with a new attachment was engineered and put in place. no dental expenses were covered by any health plan nor did i have dental insurance that covered the injury which until it was resolved, affected your ability to view food properly. an msnbc contributor asked the question we were all wondering
about. can $150,000 be possibly worth the bad publicity he will get for filing a lawsuit over an olive pit? the congressman has yet to speak pubically about the lawsuit until now. joining me now, dennis kucinich. thank you for joining me tonight. >> good to be with you. >> this is a surprise to all of us that you would find yourself in this kind of lawsuit. you settled it pretty quickly after it emerged last week. >> i am glad you pointed out that it is settled. >> the question asked is politically, was it worth it to you? sure we understand if that damage was done to someone else, they might need to take this kind of action but for a congressman to take that action, what was your judgment about your decision to do that? >> well, first of all, you talked about the video where i gave a speech a couple days
later. the damage that was done, lawrence, was not external. it was to the internal structure of the tooth. i didn't know it at the time that the -- that when i bit into the olive pit it drove the tooth upwards and cracked it in half all the way through to the root. i didn't know that. i just kept going on with my work. it wasn't until there was an infection later and i went to the dentist after that episode and he referred me to a specialist. the specialist told me that the too tooth was destroyed and had to be removed. the first implant failed and i went for a second implant which a few months later proved to take. and then another crown precision engineered partial. this was a very difficult series of dental and medical events that i had to deal with.
i didn't ask for it. it just happened. but i'm glad it's over and it really was resolved and it was resolved amickeyablely. >> you are telling tha ining us health care plan in congress does not cover you for any dental work or this kind? >> these were injuries that were not covered by any health care plan. i didn't have dental insurance. i just don't and i have -- i had extensive history with dental work. i didn't have dental insurance. the costs were paid out of pocket. but i will say in the settlement agreement we came to an agreement that we all agreed took care of the dental expenses, which frankly is what i was hoping for. it worked out.
i am glad for that. i tried to resolve it without legal action. but, the parties to the agreement all agree that it's a settled matter. >> congressman, just to clarify, you didn't have dental insurance because you in the congress are given a menu of options to choose from with health care plans and some of you will choose a plan that does have dental and some of you will choose a less expensive plan with less coverage? >> i believe you can buy dental insurance. i do have health care coverage but i pay about $5,000 a year for my coverage plus the house makes a contribution as well. but, it wasn't -- this injury is not covered. it involved a great deal of expense. >> what was that number? how much were you expenses? >> you know, that's part of the terms of the settlement, which i
have agreed will remain confidenti confidential. >> this blow to the health care bill delivered by a federal judge in florida today declaring the entire bill unconstitutional, what do you see the supreme court doing when it gets there? >> if it does get overturned it opens the way for medicare for all which is single payer, which is the quality health care for all. by the way, the plan that i have been promoting for many years would cover dental care for everyone in addition to vision care, long term health care, prescription drugs. americans are getting shortchanged by the insurance companies who make money not providing health care. i will continue to work with others in promoting our bill that provides medicare for all. the judge did not strike down the medicaid provision. that shows very clearly that the plan that we will work towards is constitutional.